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Lego's out-of-this-world Curiosity rover on sale now in UK

Lego is launching a Curiosity rover set on 1 January, designed by an engineer who worked on the real thing.

Is there anything Lego can't do? After it released the amazing Back to the Future DeLorean, and Lord of the Rings sets, it's now launched its version of the Mars Curiosity rover.

The set is on sale now in the UK, though Americans will have to wait until 1 January to get their hands on it. It's pretty authentic, but then it should be, seeing as it was designed by Stephen Pakbaz, a mechanical engineer who worked on the real-life Curiosity rover.

Just like the real thing, the Lego version comes with six-wheel rocker-bogie suspension, an articulated robotic arm, and multiple camera sets. Unlike the real thing, you can drive it about in your lounge and smash it into the coffee table. Or you can use the Lego brick Martian rocks that come bundled with it, to test its suspension.

Pakbaz submitted the design to Lego's Cuusoo website, which lets anyone upload their designs, then the most popular ones are made real. The Curiosity rover received 10,000 votes, was reviewed by the Lego bigwigs (all of whom I'd like to imagine have Lego-style side partings), and was approved back in June.

The design was tweaked slightly, but not much compared to Pakbaz's original vision. Pakbaz said in a statement that his favourite improvement Lego made is the Black Steering Arm, which connects the suspension to the swivelling arm on top using ball joints.

The Lego Curiosity rover will be ideal for budding explorers of all ages, Pakbaz added. "It can be used to explore the unknown regions of your house or office," he said. "After climbing the outer walls of Carpet Crater and descending into Couch Canyon, you will finally be able to determine if your living room was ever capable of supporting microbial life."

I'm sure there are some student digs out there whose lounges are more than capable of supporting microbial life.

The Lego Curiosity set costs £24.99. Will you be picking one up? Let me know in the comments, or motor on over to our Facebook page.